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Getting In The Huddle

Super Bowl interactive caravan

to appear at Homecoming

When MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ hosts Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, 2014, the Village of Garden City will have already gotten a taste of what’s arguably our greatest secular holiday courtesy of the Huddle Shuttle. Given the fact that the Super Bowl is being held in a cold weather locale in arguably the largest television market for the first and likely only time ever, the Super Bowl 2014 Host Committee chose to spring for a four-truck caravan measuring 100 feet long by 80 feet wide filled with memorabilia and exhibits that includes the Vince Lombardi Trophy under glass. Attendees will also be able to participate in a number of interactive, combine-like activities that include tests for agility, throwing accuracy and vertical leaping. Having been on the road since the middle of September with the goal being to visit 48 sites--24 in New York and 24 in New Jersey--the Huddle Shuttle will be pulling into Garden City on Saturday, Oct. 26, which also happens to be the same day that the Chamber of Commerce is hosting its annual 7th Street Fall Fair and when Garden City High School has its Homecoming. And these are exactly the kinds of community events that host committee president Alfred E. Kelly, Jr. sees the Join the Huddle Tour meshing with perfectly.

“One of our goals is to engage the community, raise awareness of the game and build regional spirit,” Kelly said. “We’re not trying to be an event, we’re trying to plug into an event. We’re trying to be an added surprise.”

Surprise would be the reaction Village Clerk Brian Ridgway had when Lead Dog Marketing called back in June to see if the village would be amenable to being a stop on the tour.

“I told them it sounded like a great idea but that I would have to run it by a number of people,” Ridgway recalled. “When I told the board of trustees and chamber of commerce about the possibility of this happening, everyone reacted positively to it.”

The next step came two weeks ago when committee members asked to come out to see Garden City and Ridgway welcomed them with a tour around the village.

“I wanted to give them a taste of how special Garden City is,” he explained. “So I took them around Seventh Street, through the parade route and even went to the high school, where they got to check out the turf field.”

Apparently the junket struck a nerve because the village clerk received a call from the host committee on Monday, Sept. 30, that Garden City had made the cut. In that time, Ridgway has met with Mayor John Watras, Trustee Dennis Donnelly, who is the liaison to the business community, and Police Commissioner Kenneth Jackson to map out where the Huddle Shuttle is going to stage its events. It’s something special that the village clerk and all the trustees on the board are looking forward to.

“I think it’s a wonderful addition to what’s going on and certainly lends a different element to all the festivities,” Ridgway said. “And it all leads up to the big game."